Saturday, December 5, 2009

Test on Dec 6

We have a test coming up tomorrow (Dec 6th). Questions for the test will be solely based on our classroom discussions.

To round up the topics, here they are:

1.  Discovery of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.
2.  Love - various kinds and their meaning.
3.  Marriage - it's importance and necessity.
4.  Prayer - how to pray and whom to pray to.

Good luck.

Prayer and Angels

A missionary returning home from Africa, was sharing his story with his church family .

"While serving at a small field hospital, every two weeks I traveled  through the countryside to a nearby city for supplies.

This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival  in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously  injured.

I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord. I then  traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived  home without incident. Two  weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, 'Some  friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight.

We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.'

At this  I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite.
The young man pressed the point, however, and said, 'No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.'"
At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story:

"On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?"

The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary wasn't concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw.

There were 26!

Moral: Good Angels guard us during our troubled times.  They create a safety net around us, so that no evil can come near us.  Their sincere prayers form a protective layer around us as a shield.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Heavenly mail

-----------MAIL TO GOD----------
Dearest Father In Heaven,

I have been examining my life, and it seems I can see too much of me and not enough of You. It has caused me to request something quite spectacular from You. I want to experience more of Your awesome power in every aspect of my life. I am moved and inspired at how You reveal Your power every day in the grandeur of Your creation and the depth of Your artistry. Everything from the stunning peaks of the tallest mountains to the mysterious depths of the deepest oceans bears Your signature of power.

When the storm rages, the winds blow, and the lightning streaks across the sky, it is Your thunderous voice that is heard heralding Your living power. Your powerful artistry is expressed in the excitement of Your golden dawns and in the peace of Your rich, pastel sunsets. Just as You reveal Your power in these works of creation, I want You to reveal Your power in my life and fill me with Your love. I want all that I do and all that I am to bear  Your signature of power. I want the boldness of my actions to light the horizons and the weight of my words to be spoken with thunderous truth and of a heavenly heart.

Yes, it is my greatest desire that my life be a portrait of Your power, painted by Your almighty hand.

Heavenly Mail from,
Your Loving Child.

-----------REPLY FROM GOD----------------
Dear Loving Child,

My answer comes from heaven with the rescuing power of My right hand. What I have produced in your life is better than the purest of gold and surpasses the finest of silver.

Who has measured the waters in his hand or with his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the earth's dust in a basket or placed the mountains on a scale and the hills on a balance? To whom will you compare Me, who is My equal?

I displayed the stars one by one and called them by name. Because of My great power and strength, not one of them is missing. I will give strength to you when you are weary and increased power when you are weak, You will fly like an eagle, run without growing tired, and walk without fading in strength, For I am a light and a shield, and I give you benefits and honor; nothing good will be withheld from you when you live in purity.  You possess a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline,

Fulfillment is in the life of those who trust Me.

Your Devoted Father

Answer taken from the scriptures of Isaiah 40: 12, 25,26 and 31

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Serenity Prayer

One of the most popular prayers is the Serenity Prayer, written by theologian Reinhild Niebuhr in 1930's.  This prayer was used by the Federal Council of Churches and the United States Armed Forces and later adopted by Alchololics Anonymous and various other programs.  It is:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

The serenity prayer was quite popular, and a modified version came out in 1950's.  

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Message from Secretary

Below is a message from our Sunday School Secretary.  Let your parents know about it (right away, before you forget).  


Hello All,

On December 6th, Sunday School day, there will be a song by all the students in the Church. Dress code for boys are white shirt/black pants and for girls white shirt/black skirt or white dress.

Please have the students return the envelope with contribution.

All the class will have the mid-term exam on Dec 6th.


My prayer to the Holy Spirit

Talking about prayers, here is my short prayer to the Holy Spirit that I have been practicing for several years.  I happened to read it somewhere and have memorized it since then.

Dear Holy Spirit,

you who reveal everything to me and show me the path of righteousness,

you who give me the divine gift to forgive and forget the wrong that is done to me and

you who are in all instances of my life with me,

I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and

confirm once again that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be,

I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory.

I request you to reward me with the gift of wisdom.


Prayer of the wagoner

A carter was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut.

The rustic driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules* to come and help him.

Hercules, it is said, appeared and thus addressed him: "Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain."

Moral: before you pray for something, do your part of the work.
*Hercules - Mythical greek hero for strength.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Plan for Nov 29th

For today's class, let's do the following:

1.  Lecture: Go over the chapter on Prayer during the first half.

2.  Christmas Program: Discuss about Christmas Program, assign roles, talk about practice schedule, start thinking about costumes and fix dates for voice recording.  I am still making some modifications on the script. This is the most time consuming and meticulous part.  As soon as I am done, I shall send it over.  In class, I shall share with you where we are on that.

3.  Exam: Let's have an exam on Dec 6th.  During the second half, let's review some of the key points that we discussed so far.  You do not have to prepare anything outside.  If you have been paying attention to the class, you should be able to do extremely well.  Topics for test will include lessons on Love, Marriage and Prayer.  Bring your own pencil/pen for the exam.

4.  Cover collection: We shall collect covers that were given out last Sunday.

5.  Christmas Gift: For the past few years, we have been giving out Christmas presents to those needy.  If you have something to contribute, do bring them in and we will give them out to our community.

6.   Sunday School Day: Dec 6th will be the Sunday school Day.  The 12th graders have organized some talks for that day.  We will serve as audience members.

Gospel Reading Nov 29

Gospel reading for today is St. Luke 1: 39 - 56

39  At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,

40  where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.

41  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

46  And Mary said:
     "My soul glorifies the Lord
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48  for he has been mindful
      of the humble state of his servant.
   From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
      holy is his name.
50  His mercy extends to those who fear him,
      from generation to generation.
51  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
      he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52  He has brought down rulers from their thrones
      but has lifted up the humble.
53  He has filled the hungry with good things
      but has sent the rich away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
      remembering to be merciful
55  to Abraham and his descendants forever,
      even as he said to our fathers."

56  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

St. Luke in his gospel gives a prominent position for women in his writings, and hence records this event.

Mary is credited with the words, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear."  We see here that Mary is extremely joyful to bear the son of God.  It is indeed a great privilege to be the mother of the son of God, and the title is quite a powerful one.  With great poser comes vast responsibility as well. Later, we see that Mary had to pay a huge price when her son is crucified on the cross.  God gave her the power to undergo that pain as well.

Here, we see that Mary goes to visit Elizabeth with faith, to see what the Angel about Elizabeth was true.  The essence of this reading is faith.  As soon as Mary enters Elizabeth's house, she notices Elizabeth bearing little 'John the Baptist'.  John the Baptist is said to have received the Holy Spirit even before birth.

Just like we discussed in our last class, Holy Spirit is the one who reveals truth and wisdom to us.  We should submit ourselves and seek the presence of Holy Spirit in our everyday lives.  The presence of Holy Spirit within us, in our lives provides us with great joy and knowledge - something worth experiencing.

Christmas Play - 2009

This year, let’s present the idea of forgiveness during our Christmas play. The name of our skit shall be titled ‘The Mathematics of Forgiveness’.

Forgiveness, it turns out, is not only good for the soul, but also for the human body.  Jesus proclaims the necessity and power of forgiveness to Peter in Matthew 18: 21 – 35.  Recently Harvard Medical School published an article on the healing power of forgiveness.  It quotes, “when you forgive someone, you make yourself—rather than the person who hurt you—responsible for your happiness.”  From this perspective, it is a gift for yourself.

Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

Few benefits include:
Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
Less stress and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Healthier relationships

Forgiveness may lead to reconciliation or not, but they are not the same.  Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen. It did happen, and we need to retain the lesson learned without holding onto the pain. Further, forgiveness is not giving permission to continue hurtful behaviors; nor is it condoning the behavior in the past or in the future.

Forgiving others is quite a difficult task – especially the one who hurt you.  It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of his or her sorrow.

In short, Forgiveness is a priceless gift that benefits both the giver and receiver with its grace by restoring inner peace and granting outer harmony with others.

Here is a small story:
A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who shared the ordeal with him.
"Have you forgiven the Nazis?" he asked his friend.
"Well, I haven't. I'm still consumed with hatred for them," the other man declared.
"In that case," said his friend gently, "they still have you in their prison."

That story points out this reality: ultimately, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Bitterness and anger imprison you emotionally. Forgiveness sets you free.

Credits: Various websites